MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Trains, planes & buses

Taking the bus

With $1 fares, Megabus caught riders' attention fast.

Not long ago, no one wanted to take a bus anywhere.

They took too long. The depots were depressing. They weren't even that cheap; sometimes, you could fly for less.

Then in 2006, Megabus arrived from the United Kingdom with its $1 fares and express service. It doesn't have depots; it picks up passengers on university campuses, in downtowns and at train stations.

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Taking a plane

If you like low fares, help keep the little airlines in business.

If you like low-cost airlines, there's just one rule: Use it or lose it.

Competition is the only thing that holds down air fares. Why would it cost $699 to fly from the Twin Cities to Kansas City, but only $99 to fly from the Twin Cities to Chicago?

Once, when Northwest Airlines had serious competition on its route to Chicago but not to Kansas City, those were the round-trip fares. Then, in May 2008, AirTran discontinued its flights from the Twin Cities to Chicago because they were "unprofitable,'' meaning that Northwest matched or surpassed its fares. Round-trip fares to Chicago rose to $400.

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Taking the train

It's fun, it's easy and it's cheap if you plan ahead.

Sometimes, we forget that Amtrak can be a great way to get around. (For excursion trains, see 5 great/train rides.)

We've all heard stories about late trains. Well, you don't take the train to a business meeting — you take it if you've got the time and a sense of adventure.

If you do that, you can expect some incredible deals.

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